Pirates sweep UMBC in doubleheaderPublished 11:02am Saturday, March 29, 2014
By Michael Prunka
For The Washington Daily News
East Carolina (16-11, 6-3 Conference-USA) coasted to a doubleheader sweep Saturday afternoon. The Pirates defeated UMBC (5-13) in back-to-back games to extend their win streak to six in a row.
Starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman (1-3) earned his first win of the season in ECU’s 13-3 victory in Game 1. In seven innings of work, Hoffman gave up two runs (both earned) on six hits and struck out six UMBC batters.
“It felt great,” said Hoffman about his first win of the season. “I just went out there and tried to do it right, and kept the same mindset I always have: go out there and throw strikes. We got a few runs early and kid of was able to coast from there.”
Run support proved to be important for the pitching staff in both games. Reid Love threw a complete shutout in ECU’s 6-0 win in Game 2. He gave up just five hits in nine innings and retired UMBC in order in three consecutive innings.
“I was able to throw my off speed for strikes,” said Love, “and be more efficient in throwing strikes. I let the defense play behind me—they played really well. [Left fielder] Dylan Brown made a fantastic play out there. That really helped.”
Freshman second baseman Charlie Yorgen also made a fantastic play. Sitting on the ground behind second base, he made a blind toss over his shoulder to shortstop Hunter Allen, who made the throw to Bryce Harman at first base. That double play halted what seemed to be a comeback effort by UMBC.
Ben Fultz extended his hitting streak to nine straight games. He was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate in Game 1, but didn’t return for the second contest. According to manager Billy Godwin, Fultz strained his shoulder sliding into second after a pickoff attempt in Game 1.
Ian Townsend, who usually makes an impact at the plate, was unusually quiet. Between the two games, Townsend batted 1-for-10. Even with his lack of production and Fultz’s absence in Game 2, the rest of the team filled the offensive void.
“That challenges our guys offensively,” said Godwin. “I think that’s the key to a good club is not everybody is going to come out and hit every day, but other guys have to pick them up. I thought that’s what our guys did today. We got production up and down the lineup. You said Ian didn’t swing that well, but other guys stepped up and replaced that.”
The Pirates will aim to sweep UMBC when the two sides meet for Game 3, which is scheduled to take place Sunday at 1 p.m. in Clark-LeClair Stadium.